Citrus is brilliant at brightening up recipes all year long, but it’s especially nice in the summer. Think tangy marinades for the grill, salad dressings, angel food cupcakes, or use it to keep your guacamole from turning brown. Here are some quick tricks to getting the most from your lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits.

Zest your fruit before juicing

Before I juice I always zest, because the oils in the zest contains concentrated flavor of the fruit without a lot of the sourness (it can keep, covered air-tight in the fridge for a couple days). I never know when I will need some to add pizazz to a dish – for example, stir a little zest into plain old steamed rice and it will transform the

Roll the citrus fruit to loosen juices

rice from bland to exciting. Larger citrus like oranges and grapefruits are usually pretty easy to juice, but rolling a lemon or lime before cutting helps loosen up the fruit, so it releases the juice a little easier. If it still feels

Nuke the fruit to loosen juices

hard when I give it a little squeeze in my hand, I like to throw it in the microwave for a quick zap (about 15-20 seconds on high). Let the fruit cool a minute or two, then slice and squeeze – the juice should release easily. How do you use citrus to liven up your dishes?

Guacamole

Summer entertaining screams guacamole to me. It’s quick and easy to make, and goes great with a cold beer in the hot sun by the pool. Serve it as an appetizer with chips or crudités; as a component of grilled fish or chicken, or slathered over a juicy burger straight off the grill.

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

4 very ripe avocados
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 ripe vine tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1). Slice the avocados in half, remove the pits and slice into a medium size bowl. Add the lime zest and juice immediately (the acid stops the air from turning the avocados brown).

2). Add the garlic, hot sauce and cumin, then smoosh the ingredients together, mixing well while using the back of a fork to mash, keeping a little texture in the mixture.

3). Stir in the red onion, tomato and cilantro, and season to taste.

Serving Suggestions:

For an pretty presentation, I like to serve the guacamole in half an avocado skin surrounded by chips, and/or crudités for the figure conscious. It is also delicious served with grilled fish, chicken, or slathered over burgers.

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  • July 20, 2012
    10:16 am

    I just love using Lemons in as many dishes as I can, much to my Fiancé’s dismay ;)
    Last week I made a fabulous Victoria type sponge with lemon juice & zest in the sponge, double (heavy) cream, lemon curd & fresh strawberries between the layers. Not only was it a simple process in that it was whipped up altogether but the juice ensured it was moist and fresh tasting for a couple of days afterwards.
    Also, adding a bit of citrus juice to pastry when making gives the finished product a lovely crisp bite.

  • July 20, 2012
    11:13 am

    I love lemon/lime flavors in just about everything. My husband (whose family came from Cuba in the 1940’s) got me into squeezing lime into Chicken soup. I had never eaten it that way until I met him, and now I can’t live without it!

  • July 20, 2012
    11:54 am

    I put lemon zest under the chicken skin before roasting it, and I also use it in chicken broth…I favorite dish is tagliolini al limone!

  • July 20, 2012
    9:32 pm

    Recently my sister and I had our yearly reunion with some childhood friends of ours with our families at my Dad’s house. One of the evenings we got together for some dinner and appetizers. My son decided nothing would do, he had to make some guacamole dip to go with some chips. He wanted to contribute something special for this dinner.

    He knew the recipe, by heart and wandered around the market collecting things off shelves that he would need. I bought them and we took them back to my Dad’s.

    About 20 minutes later; proud as can be (my son has Aspergers Syndrome); out came my 22 year old son, carrying a platter of chips with a large bowl of his guacamole.

    I have never seen anything be devoured so quickly! Everyone was raving about it! They loved it. He was pleased as punch!! I’ll have to show him your recipe Jewels and see if it gets the thumbs up! ;)

  • July 22, 2012
    7:53 pm

    Love lemon and lime with almost everything. Thanks to this site I’ve also added grapefruit to the list. Such happy, fresh flavours. This guacamole looks like a MUST try. Love the presentation too!

  • July 22, 2012
    9:48 pm

    At the weekend when I visited the Trust I’m working with, in Southern India; we were greeted with fresh lime juice mixed with some water – perfectly balanced. It is such a refreshing drink especially after a long car journey. In India, you will see garlands that have chilli and limes hanging from them to ward off evil spirits and for good luck. Also, yesterday I learnt in an incredible temple in Madauri, that the reason some limes were stuck on the railing spikes in front of a carving of a goddess was because this goddess is regarded as being feisty and needs cooling down which the limes signify! Love that! Tarragon and lime chicken is a favourite dish at home.

  • November 25, 2012
    6:17 am

    why is it that I cannot play videos from Pinoy Channel?….. visit http://goo.gl/HNBgn to watch pinoy tv shows